I am a Passenger on a Motorcycle: How Should I Behave?

For many, one of the greatest pleasures of riding a motorcycle is doing so in the company of a loved one. In addition to the driver, the passenger can also benefit from the mobility advantages associated with two wheels in the big city.

For that reason, do not stop carrying passengers on your motorcycle (or be carried). Nevertheless, before knowing some tips to do it in the best way, we should know what the law says about passengers on a motorcycle. This is summarized below:

  • The motorcycles must be approved to carry 2 occupants (driver and passenger). We know this by consulting the vehicle registration document on which this should be recorded as the number of seats.
  • Mopeds: on popular motorcycles up to 50 cc and whenever these are approved for two occupants, passengers may only be carried if the driver is of legal age (18 years old).

From here, we should keep in mind that if a motorcycle is usually designed to perform with one person, everything changes when carrying a passenger.

We should start with raising awareness of the responsibility we acquire as drivers upon carrying a passenger. His/her safety directly depends on you. Therefore, you should be even more careful.

From here, we are going to see, step by step, what the better customs the passenger should adopt on a motorcycle are to facilitate the driver’s driving.

Getting On and Off of the Motorcycle and the Position of the Passenger

It seems obvious but you must know that the passenger should always go on the back seat and never between the driver and handlebars.

First obstacle: getting on the motorcycle. It is best to do so from the left side. If the motorcycle is not very tall, the passenger can easily seat him/herself by putting the right leg over the seat. Otherwise, the passenger should put the left foot on the footrest and, leaning on the shoulder of the driver, it will be easier to sit down until putting the right foot on the other footrest. It is recommended to do this maneuver with the motorcycle on the stand or with the kickstand down for safety reasons. For his/her part, the driver should bear the weight and movements with his/her feet on the ground and support the handlebars with force.

The passenger should accommodate him/herself and leave a reasonable distance from the driver to keep from hitting helmets and allowing certain freedom of movement during the commute. The best is for the passenger to hold onto the motorcycle handles. He/she can also hold onto the driver’s waist (without bothering him/her) or even lean on the tank, especially in sporty motorcycles in which the posture is more inclined forward.

To get off of the motorcycle, we could say that you should follow the steps in the beginning to get on but in the opposite order. Remember that the best is from the left, the driver being prepared to secure the motorcycle and have the kickstand down for safety reasons.

Motorcycle passenger, in movement

We are both on the motorcycle. Let’s go! The tips that must be followed by the motorcycle passenger when we start to ride are as follows:

  • The passenger must be seated with one leg on each side of the motorcycle and with his/her knees pointed straight forward.
  • The passenger’s feet must remain on the footrests at all times.
  • Curves: The passenger can lean slightly with the driver or simply let him/herself be carried by the movement of the motorcycle, staying in line with the vertical axis of the motorcycle. The passenger should not resist leaning by trying to stay vertical. This would add centrifugal force to the unit, pushing it toward the outside the curve and forcing the driver to lean even more, which would consequently increase the risk of an accident.

The driver should be aware of whether the passenger has experience with traveling by motorcycle or not. If the passenger has limited experience or is new to this, he/she should be made familiar with these indications, and the driver and the passenger should decide on issues such as communication to avoid distractions.

Now to talk about the technique of driving with a passenger, the driver must understand that the motorcycle is heavier and has a different weight distribution, since the weight will be more concentrated on the back side of the motorcycle. Thus, whereas we normally brake by applying greater intensity to the front wheel, we must compensate by braking more on the back wheel.

Obviously, we must adopt a lower speed and we must brake and start steering earlier.

We also want to make the ride enjoyable for our passenger, so it is best to go more slowly and smoothly than when you ride alone. You do not want your passenger to have a negative experience.

Finally, we need to remind you to change your tire pressure (the back wheel bears more weight) and to adjust your rear suspension (if possible on your motorcycle) so that your motorcycle will perform better.